Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of
(from Walt Whitman, Song of Myself)
Sexual desire seems so human to us. Sure, we know animals do it, and even plants, but their experience seems different, alien. So much emotion in the human drive. But if we call it a “drive,” we seem to risk reducing it to just an animal/vegetable thing devoid of higher meaning, devoid of love. But what if it works the other way? To recognize our sexual desire as an instance of the same force that drives the animal and vegetable kingdoms, does that not make the whole thing more meaningful and emotion-rich? Look at the way plants push toward their own physical fulfillment – all the little sprouts and turns and small daily efforts.
The beauty and love we associate with our sexual desire is there already, moving forward the whole system all the time, entangling and driving through our own species as one turn in the much larger road. Our consciousness that seems so special is just a temporary human expression of the great consciousness that rolls through all things.
At least I think that’s what Whitman is getting at, with an assist below from Wordsworth.
. . . And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
(from William Wordsworth, “Tintern Abbey”)
When I get to be of advanced years will I feel empathy with Socrates view on his loss of libido? Whilst out and about, one day, some bloke shouted “How’s your sex life, Socrates?”
He replied, “My libido has completely disappeared. It’s like being unchained from a lunatic.”
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Hahaha. Great story, Manuel. I seem to recall Socrates being hit on by Alcibiades throughout the dialogue of The Symposium. Socrates was completely nonjudgmental — even humorous about it — but also completely impervious to the young nobleman’s advances. At least that’s the way I remember it. I think Socrates would be OK with my post here, which seems at least to elevate sexual desire
into an expression of something larger than base appetite.
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